Verizon and Redbox have been talking about entering the video rental and streaming business for months now, and they’re set to officially launch their new service for a select group of beta testers in the coming days. Will it be able to dethrone Netflix?
The company has announced the details about its new service, which will offer several different plans for consumers, including a $6-per-month subscription for streaming only, $8 a month for streaming and four DVD rentals from a Redbox kiosk, and $9 for that deal with Blu-ray instead of DVD.
Six dollars a month for streaming undercuts current king Netflix by $2 a month, but before you get excited and start planning to jump ship, remember that Verizon and Redbox don’t have as many deals with studios for streaming rights as Netflix does, so the selection won’t be as robust. Considering that Netflix’s streaming options aren’t all that fantastic unless you like B-movies and television shows, we’d advocate taking a wait-and-see approach before diving in.
Verizon and Redbox will invite select customers into the test program in the imminent future. If that pans out, plans are to roll out the service to a broader group of customers in 2013.
Should that come to pass, the streaming and rental market will be a little more crowded – although not as crowded as it could have been. Earlier this year, Dish Network scrapped plans to turn its Blockbuster acquisition into a streaming service aimed at cutting into Netflix’s customer base.
The real question is how this affects consumers. While competition is great for ensuring we get more options for less money, the fact that no single service seems capable of locking up all the important streaming rights is a cause for concern. We could be looking at a future where customers have several different streaming service subscriptions to fill their viewing needs – something we’ve seen already with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc. Six dollars to eight dollars a month is cheap – but if you need five services so you can watch everything you want, that deal starts to look less appealing. In fact, it all starts to look sort of like cable TV plans.
We’ll be keeping an eye on Verizon and Redbox’s foray into the streaming market and will bring you more about how the service compares to the competition in the future. In the meantime, would you consider dumping Netflix for the cheaper deal offered here or would you just subscribe to both?